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Irish Restaurant Awards launched for 2017

Irish Restaurant Awards launched for 2017


The Battle for the #FoodOscars Returns. Online nominations open next Wednesday, 11th January to the public.

Thursday, 5th January 2017

The Restaurants Association of Ireland is pleased to introduce the ninth annual Irish Restaurant Awards which was launched earlier today at an event held in Luna Restaurant, Dublin. The Irish Restaurant Awards showcase the true talent that Ireland’s hospitality industry has to offer by acknowledging outstanding performers in the sector.

Growing steadily from its humble beginnings back in 2009, the awards are now a five-month long process consisting of online public nominations, judging panels, mystery guest inspections and regional and national events. In 2016, the awards received 70,000+ online public nominations. This number is expected to grow exponentially with the continued support of our media partner, The Irish Times.

Last year, the Irish Restaurant Awards consisted of a roadshow of four regional events – Dublin, Derry, Kerry and Sligo – with over 2,200 guests in total. The final event was held in the Doubletree by Hilton, Dublin and saw 900+ guests sit down for a five course gala dinner cooked by 5 renowned chefs (previous award winners).

Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association commented; “This is the ninth year of the Irish Restaurant Awards. Each year, the awards have grown bigger and better and I am excited for what 2017 will bring. Our awards are the only awards in Ireland to have a Mystery Judge element, we can really stand over the entire process. The aim of the Irish Restaurant Awards is to honour the hard working people of the hospitality industry from cocktail makers, sommeliers and waiters to restaurant managers and local food champions. The restaurant industry is the biggest employer within the Irish tourism sector, employing over 74,000 people and these awards are a celebration and acknowledgement of the hard work put in by restaurateurs year round.”

Anthony Gray, President of the Restaurants Association commented; “The awards are renowned in the restaurant sector, they are the awards everyone wants to win. Restaurateurs should be proud of their work and continue to enjoy their hard earned achievements.”

Online nominations open at 12 noon on Wednesday, 11th of January and will close 2 weeks later at 12 noon on Wednesday, 25th January. Nominations can be made via

This year, there are 20 categories in which the general public can nominate. These categories are made up of 15 Main award categories, including an exciting new category ‘Pub of the Year’, and five National award categories.

Main awards categories will each have county winners with the exception of Best Restaurant Manager, Best Emerging Irish Cuisine, Best World Cuisine, Best Café, Best Kids Size Me and Local Food Hero. These categories will announce regional and All-Ireland winners only. National categories will have one All-Ireland Winner only.

Main categories are as follows:

  • Best Restaurant
  • Best Chef
  • Best Restaurant Manager
  • Best Hotel Restaurant
  • Best Casual Dining
  • Best Gastro Pub
  • Best Newcomer
  • Best Customer Service
  • Best Wine Experience
  • Best Emerging Irish Cuisine
  • Best World Cuisine
  • Best Cafe
  • Best Kids Size Me
  • Local Food Hero
  • Pub of the Year (NEW!)


National Categories

  • Best Cocktail Experience
  • Best Private Dining & Club Restaurant
  • Best Cookery School
  • Best Seafood Experience
  • Best Digital Marketing

In the first stage of the judging process, online nominations are given a weighting of 30%, while the remaining 70% is made up from a regional judging panel assessment. Both of these results are combined and reviewed by an independent auditor (BDO) to give an overall county winner per category. These winners will be announced at a number of regional events held in March.

Each county winner then goes forward to the Regional and All-Ireland stage whereby they will then each receive a mystery guest inspection.  They will be assessed on their menu, customer service, and the overall dining experience from the moment the booking is made until the customer receives the bill. Full details on the judging process can be found on the official Awards website

National Categories will not receive a mystery guest inspection. They will be judged by the National Academy with the exception of Best Cocktail Experience which will be judged by the Bartenders Association of Ireland at a live competition.

The All-Ireland final of the Irish Restaurant Awards 2017 takes place on Monday 8th of May 2017 in the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road.



For more information, please visit:

Twitter: @restawards  #FoodOscars


Our thanks to